clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The case for Houston Nutt as Maryland's next head football coach

New, 41 comments

This isn't exciting at all, but Nutt's got the resume to get back into the coaching game sometime soon.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.

Houston Nutt, former SEC head coach and current TV guy

Possibility scale: 2/10

The resume

Nutt started his head coaching career at Murray State, where he won the Division I-AA (or what is now called the FCS) National Coach of the Year in 1995. After one season at Boise State, Nutt took the head coaching job at Arkansas.

Nutt led the Razorbacks to bowl games in his first six seasons. In his decade at Arkansas, he was named SEC Coach of the Year twice and helped lead the Hogs to three SEC West division titles.

He had less success at Ole Miss when he became the head coach there in 2008. Nutt started with two 9-4 campaigns but the Rebels went 4-8 and 2-10 in the two seasons that followed. Nutt resigned after the 2011 season.

The benefits

Maryland has had a great deal of trouble beating ranked teams. Enter Nutt. He has 21 victories over ranked teams, including road wins at eventual national champions Florida and LSU. He'll have Maryland ready to play in hostile environments. In his four years at Ole Miss, the Rebels knocked off three top-10 teams.

In the Big Ten, you have to be able to run the ball. Nutt's Arkansas teams led the SEC in rushing in five of his last six seasons there. In his first season at Ole Miss, the Rebels averaged over 185 yards per game on the ground.

The drawbacks

Much has been written about how Nutt handled Gus Malzahn and the "Springfield Five," a quintet of recruits that included the nation's top quarterback recruit in Mitch Mustain. It was a debacle, plain and simple. Malzahn left after one season to become the offensive coordinator at Tulsa and some of the recruits, including Mustain, transferred.

Much of the credit for Nutt's early success during his time in Oxford can also be attributed to his super-recruiter/offensive coordinator, Ed Orgeron. Once Orgeron left town, the talent level dropped precipitously. Nutt is very conservative offensively, and his tenure with Ole Miss ended with the Rebels losing 14 SEC contests in a row. That's brutal.

Nutt is not going to bring a wide-open offense to Maryland. He craved control at Arkansas and Ole Miss, and he probably won't hand over all of the control over schemes and play-calling to his offensive coordinator. Nutt will bring a power run game to College Park, not an exciting, wide-open offense that spreads the defense thin and scores 30 to 40 points per game.

In one sentence

Nutt would be a woefully unexciting hire, although he's got the track record to probably get back into the coaching game at some point.